February 9, 2010 / 7:55 AM / 9 years ago

Japan pedometer gives incentive to skip the taxi

Taxis are parked as drivers wait for customers on a road in Tokyo, August 3, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Looking for extra motivation to walk away the pounds? A Japanese company is selling a pedometer that calculates how much money you save on taxi fares by walking as well as the calories you burn.

The meter on Happinet Toy’s “Taxi Walker” starts at 710 yen ($7.90) — the same as the initial fare for most Tokyo taxis and which covers the first 2 kms (1.2 miles).

Once the user has walked more than 2 km, the pedometer tacks on 90 yen for each additional 280 meters covered.

The Taxi Walker is recommended for a range of people, from businessmen who often take taxis to budget-conscious housewives, said Kayoko Sakaba, who is in charge of advertising at Happinet’s marketing division.

“Especially after going out for drinks people often go home by taxi, so they can use it in such situations,” Sakaba said.

“It also shows the number of calories (burned), so as you’re losing weight you also feel like you’re saving money,” she said.

The 4 cm by 6 cm (1.6 inches by 2.4 inches) pedometer is available in various colors, but Sakaba said the yellow version with checkerboard trim below the display screen is the most popular, because it looks like a typical cab.

The settings for initial fare and per-meter charges can be changed to correspond to fares in other regions of Japan, as well as for higher speeds and long-distance walking.

The pedometer, which sells for 2,079 yen ($23.20), is available only in Japan.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher, editing by Miral Fahmy

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